BiographyPythagore, wire of Phénicien Mnésarchos, would have been born with Samos, an island of Sporades protected by Héra, the goddess with the peacock (or Tyrrhénie, or Tyr, or in Syria, cf Clément of Alexandria, Stromates , I, 62) towards -580 and would have died towards -490 or -497, with more than eighty years (its acme is in the 60e Olympiade, 540-537, according to Diogène Laërce).
Against any chronological obviousness (one century of variation), the Roman tradition made of it the Master of Numa Pompilius, second king legendary of Rome and for founder of the Roman religion held it. The historian Tite-Live refutes this thesis in his Roman Histoire I-18.
The name of his/her father is given to us by Hérodote in the only passage where he speaks about Pythagore ( Enquête , IV, 95): Zalmoxis, the thrace divinity, was actually a man slave of Samos “to the service of Pythagore, wire of Mnésarchos”. His/her father, invaluable stone engraver, and his/her mother Parthenis, most beautiful from Samiennes, descended both from the hero Ancée, wire of Zeus, which had founded the town of Samos. Mnésarchos and Parthenis being returned with Delphes to consult the Pythea, they learned that Parthenis was pregnant and would put at the world a beautiful and wise son; Mnésarchos then changed the name of his wife into Pythaïs (the “Pythienne”), and named the child announced by the Pythea “Pythagore”, the “indicator board pythien”. Actually, if Pythagore had inherited his/her carnal father a body prone to the birth and death, it held its Us , the hegemonic part of its heart, Apollo him even whose Pythaïs would have had the favors.
It followed then the lesson of Phérécyde de Syros, of which he was the nephew by his mother, and who taught to him in a cave. For Cicéron ( Tusc. , I, 16) Phérécyde would have been the first to be supported that the hearts of the men are immortal, which will influence it deeply. According to Dicéarque (Porphyry Life of Pythagore , 11) Pythagore would have attended the last moments of Phérécyde, and according to Aristoxène (Diogène Laërce, Vies , I, 118), it would have buried it with Délos.
Thalès de Milet would have taught the control of time, temperance and true science to him. He would have finally known Anaximandre, in the same city.
After having left Millet, Pythagore went to Sidon, in Phénicie where it met the descendants of the prophet Môkhos which initiated it with the Mystères in Tyr and Byblos. Making retirement in the Temple Mount Carmel, the mountain of the Lord Élie, it achieves its first Miracle by crossing a chasm of the mountain to join a ship with the feet of the mountain, which will carry out it in Egypt.
Received with Know by the Pharaon Amasis, it will spend twenty-two years in this country where it will be initiated with the Mystery of Diospolis (Thèbes) and with the doctrines of the resurrection of Osiris; the priests would have applied to him to the thigh the winged disc of Atoum - Râ, in gold sheet, which will be worth to him the nickname of Pythagore chrysomère , i.e " with the thigh of or".
He was perhaps also in relation to the chaldéen Zaratas-Zoroastre which would have purified it its stains (Hippolyte, Réfutations of all the heresies , I, II, 12). He would have lived ten years in Persia after the fall of impostor Smerdis. He would have even been as far as India where he would have met the Bouddha.
Released from Persia by Crotoniate of the name of Gillos, according to Apulée, Pythagore returns in Samos where the tyrant Polycrate always reigned. It starts to teach in an amphitheater with open sky, the Hémicycle, without much success.
According to a tradition, before becoming famous for its philosophical teaching, Pythagore took part in the Olympic Games at the 18 years age. It gained all the competitions of Pugilat (sport of Antiquity comparable with the Boxe)
Banished by Polycrate or leaving Samos full sound liking, it leaves for the Grande Greece and settles with Crotona where there will remain a score of years. Its influence on Crotona extended from the assembly to the children while passing through the teenagers and the women who all came to listen to it. But its teaching was subject to a rule of silence. It founded its school with Crotona.
This influence in Crotona is the occasion for Porphyre of Tyr to write an undoubtedly idealized and fictionalized description of Pythagore:
“(…) the inhabitants of Crotona understood that they dealt with man who had travelled much, an exceptional man, who held of the fortune of many physical advantages: it was indeed noble and slim from pace and, from its voice, its character and all the remainder of its person emanated an infinite grace and a beauty. ”
It seems that Pythagore also introduced many ritual been essential Egypt, and that he acquired a great fame thus: the inhabitants of Crotona called it Hyperborean Apollon.
Pythagore seems to have had two children of Théano, pythonisse originating in Crete: Arimnestos (which were perhaps the Master of Démocrite, cf Porphyre of Tyr, Vie of Pythagore , 3), or Télaugès, and a girl of the name of Mya (or Arignotès). It seems that his/her children wrote treaties. According to Timée de Locres ( ibid , 4), this girl was honoured “like the Virgin with the virgins and like the Woman of the women” and, after her death, its house became for the inhabitants of Crotona a sanctuary of Déméter.
In addition to the foundation of the school pythagorician, it would be at the origin of the musical Gamme founded on the “cycle of the fifths”, and its name gave him. According to Isocrate ( Busiris , 28-29), it is him which introduced the Philosophie in Greece, and which invented this mot.
It would have also introduced measurements and the weights. Pythagore studied mathematical sciences which he learned from the Egyptians, Chaldéens (Astronomie) and from Phéniciens (arithmetic numbers and calculations).
He would have also learned art from makers of Miracle S of Phérécyde. Besides one reports many legends on his account, giving a report on his gifts of ubiquity, his leg in Or, etc This character legendary of the life of Pythagore, which suggests sometimes the use of artifices in order to allure, also finds oneself in his entourage. Indeed, one of its former slaves, Zalmoxis (Salmoxis), passes to have deceived its fellow-citizens by benefitting from the Sagesse of Pythagore: he taught the doctrines of the to them Immortalité of the heart, then he hid in an underground during three years while being made pass for death. He reappeared, with the great astonishment of all, and, consequently, its word became the object of true a Foi.
Towards the end of its life, Pythagore flees for Métaponte following a plot fomented in its absence against him and all the pythagoricians of which some were burned alives in a house by the men of noble of Crotona, Cylon. This last wanted to be thus avenged for the Pythagore old man who had considered to be it inapt to follow the lesson of the school. These persecutions led to the dispersion of the members of the school pythagorician, and mark the beginning of the decline of the pythagorician influence in Italy, whose last bastion was Tarente, with Archytas de Tarente.
Pythagore would have died in Métaponte, where it was buried, at the 90 years age.
Its influence was very large: Empédocle would have been one of its disciples (this point however is refuted by the chronology), and Démocrite admired its Pensée.
The companions identified Pythagore like one their references, in particular because of the rigor of teaching, of the character scientific, mathematical, communautarist.
It was about a philosophical, religious and scientific fraternity, near to the orphism, whose disciples conformed to a philosophy of constraining life: the ponos . A rule of life which Pythagore prescribed was the concern of the purity and the abstinence of versed blood and those which pour it, and it was thus interdict to consume the animal flesh (see Végétarien). It also prohibited to sacrifice animals equipped with a heart. The emblem of this school was the Pentagramme.
On the interdict of the broad bean consumption, the biographers contradict themselves:
“Abstain from broad bean, contemptible food,
I repeat you here the order of Pythagore.”
These interdicts nevertheless are contradicted by several authors: Aristoxène says that the broad bean was the usual vegetable of Pythagore because of its laxative property (Aulu-Cold, Nuits attics , IV, XI, 4.) ; he also ate piglets and kids. Aulu-cold indicates, while following Aristote, that the pythagoricians actually abstained from only certain meats.
DoctrinesJust as the historical character of Pythagore is very badly known (although its life is attested), its thought is assimilated to the school pythagorician as a whole and in all its diversity. The thought of Pythagore itself is thus covered by the successive contributions with its disciples: to discover what returns to him truly in the whole of testimonys which concern the pythagoricians is practically impossible: one will be able to thus refer to the article École pythagorician to supplement the talk of the supposed thought of the Master. Moreover, many aspects of the pythagorism seem to have their true origin in Egypt. In the same way, according to Diogène Laërce (quoting Aristoxène, VIII, 8), Pythagore would have borrowed its maxims morals from a priestess of Delphes, Thémistocléia.
One can nevertheless try to distinguish some elements which would be most characteristic of the Pensée of Pythagore:
- rules of life;
- the Métempsycose;
- the Political ;
- Mathematical ;
- the Physical ;
- the Astronomie - “what you look while raising the eyes is the organized Beauty” (Cosmos) and “If you listenings, you will hear the music of the spheres”.
The principles are, according to Pythagore, the numbers and their reports/ratios ( harmony ) and the elements made up of both ( geometric standards ). But it then seems to have introduced the ideas of monade and dyad: the monade is the principle of all things from which the dyad rises; the dyad is indefinite, and is a material substrate for the monade as a cause. Monade and indefinite dyad are born the numbers, and of the numbers the points, the points the lines which generate the plane figures; the plane figures generate the figures with three dimensions from which are born the sensitive bodies made up of four elements (fire, water, ground, air) which transform the ones into the others.
The nature of the number is the decade, whose power is contained in number 4.
According to Proclos ( Comment on the first book of the Elements of Euclide , 65,11), it is Pythagore which it first studied the Géométrie since its first principles in order to give him an empirical method not purely intellectual. It is there the most precise testimony which we have on the philosophical method of Pythagore.
Pythagore is well-known for the Théorème of Géométrie which bears its name: the Theorem of Pythagore.
Psychology and Theology
Pythagore thought that the human heart is “immortal, that it migrates of an living being to another, that according to certain periods, the beings which were born one day are born again, which it does not have there, strictly speaking, no new being and that it should be believed that all that is animated belongs to the same stock. ” (Porphyry of Tyr, Life of Pythagore , 19). It is him which introduced this belief in Greece. One will be able to bring it closer to the myth brought back by Plato ( the Republic , X, 614 C ), and known under the name of Mythe of er Pamphylien.
On the idea of Métensomatose at Pythagore, we also have the testimony of Hérodote ( Enquête , II, 123): it exposes the Egyptian doctrines of the heart, then indicates that Greeks (of which it knows the name, but that it refuses to quote), took again this theory by making it pass for their invention and by introducing it in Greece. Here this talk:
- “They are still the Egyptians who, the first, said that the human heart is immortal and that at the moment when the body perishes, it comes to place themselves in another living being which is born then; that, when she lived in turn all the terrestrial species, watery and air, then she penetrates again in the body of one man at the moment when he is born, after a three thousand years migration. ”
Pythagore said that it was Midas de Phrygie, wire of Gordias. Its disciples and biographers affirmed that its metempsychoses had lasted 216 years. According to Héraclide of the Bridge (Diogène Laërce, VIII, 4 - 5), Pythagore said itself which it had been called formerly Aethalidès, and which he was the son of Hermes. Hermes declared to him that it would give him what it would wish, except immortality. He then asked to preserve the memory of the events of his successive lives.
The names of the five incarnations that Pythagore would have been allotted are reported in this order:
- Aethalidès, It was attracted enough not the sexual things…
Rules of life
AcousmatesOne allots to Pythagore oral precepts (called “acousmates”); their authenticity is obviously doubtful, although Jamblique indicates that the pythagoricians took care not to add anything to it. It also announces that these precepts are undoubtedly inspired by the wise Seven.
These acousmates is present by Jamblique ( pythagoric Vie , 82 - 86) as an oral teaching which does without any demonstration, and which has value of divine sentence. It classifies them in three categories: the acousmates which reveal the gasoline, those which reveal the absolute and those which reveal what it is necessary or is not necessary to make.
Here some examples:
Bearing Acousmates on the absolute
“That is there moreover just? To achieve sacrifices.
- What is there of wiser? The number, and after him, that which gave their name to the things. Is
- Which the wisest human activity? Medicine.
- What is there of more beautiful? The harmony.
- What is there moreover more extremely? Reason.
- What is there the best? Happiness. ”
- What is there of wiser? The number, and after him, that which gave their name to the things. Is
Bearing Acousmates on what it is necessary to do and not to make
“It is necessary to generate children.
- It is necessary to start by fitting the right foot.
- One should not beat his wife.
- One should not give of the another only best council.
- tirednesses are good, but the pleasures, whatever they are, pernicious. ”
- It is necessary to start by fitting the right foot.
SymbolsThere exists another category of precepts, the symbols, which are picturesque precepts.
- not to break the balance of the balance.
- not to poke fire with a knife.
PoliticalHe is the founder of political science. He wants to organize the city in a mathematical and rational way. Besides specialists in the Pythagorisme allot to the school pythagorician most of the work of Plato, the Republic, in particular book VII, known for its famous allegory of the underground residence (Allégorie of the cave, where the philosopher, Socrate, develop the training of the politicians, last training level of the school pythagorician).
- “… Ainsi the government of this city (...) will be a reality and not a vain dream, like that of the current cities, where the chiefs fight for the shades and dispute the authority, which they look like a large good. Here on top which is the truth: the city where those which must order are hastened to seek the capacity, is best controlled and the least prone to sedition, and that where the chiefs are in contrary provisions find itself in a contrary situation.
- With a similar education, each one will come to the capacity only by need, as opposed to what make today the chiefs in all the States.
- Yes, began again Socrate, if you discover for those which must order a preferable condition with the capacity itself, he is possible for you to have a well controlled State; because in this State only will order those which are really rich, not of gold, but of this richness which the man needs to be happy. On the other hand, if the beggars and famished people of particular goods come to the public affairs, persuaded that it is there that it is necessary to go from there to take, that will not be possible; because one fights then to obtain the capacity, and this domestic and internal war loses and those which are devoted to it and the remainder of the city. ”
The heritage: the pythagorism until today
The richness of the work undertaken by the school pythagorician was such as her sources inspired many currents of thought. Many are the authors who draw up close links with the origin of the Christianisme, in particular by the bonds between the orphism and the fraternity of Pythagore, even make a parallel between Jesus and Pythagore (claim of divine birth, distant positioning with the divine one, fast, “miracles”, resurrection, etc).
“Isidore Levy could see " the frame of the building évangélique" ( the legend of Pythagore , p. 340) and true reasons of the triumph of Christianity. ” (Jean-François Mattei, Pythagore and the pythagoricians , Whom do I know? , p. 8)
At the same time, the rigor of the pythagoricians and their interest for sciences make establish bonds with the rational approach of the things and the ideas. The teaching approach generally, the demanding training of the leaders of the city in particular make establish other bonds with the pythagorism.
WorksAccording to Plutarque ( Of fortune or virtue of Alexandre , I, 4), Pythagore would not have written anything. But this point is contradicted by several authors (Philodème, Of piety , 4 B, 3; and Diogène Laërce says that this assertion is a joke into VIII, 6). According to Diogène, one allots to Pythagore following works:
- Of nature
- Of the universe
- Treated crowned
- Of the heart
- Of piety
- Crotona .
These attributions are extremely dubious, and as of the Antiquité, one thought that these books had been written by disciples of Pythagore. Jamblique ( pythagoric Life , 199) brings back to us the history of the supposed writings of the Master:
- “the exactitude with which the doctrines pythagorician were preserved is astonishing, because, during fort many generations - that is manifest -, nobody could have access to the files of Pythagore before the time of Philolaos, which was besides the first to publish the three books that one knows. According to the tradition, Dion of Syracuse repurchased them, at the request of Plato, percent mines in Philolaos, fallen into a utter destitution; indeed, this last also belonged him to the brotherhood of the pythagoricians and this is why it had had these books in its possession. ”
SourcesAristote wrote a book On the pythagoricians , of which there remain some fragments, and Démocrite, a Pythagore . We also know the names of several biographers of Pythagore: Aristoxene, Hippobote, Néanthès (Pseudo-Jamblique, Théologoumènes arithmetic ).
French works on the life and the work of Pythagore
- Henriette Chardak, the enigma Pythagore , Presses of the Rebirth, 2007
- Jean-Paul Dumont, “Pythagore”, in: Présocratiques , Paris, Gallimard, 1988, coll “Library of the Pleiad” n° 345, XXVIII-1652 p., p. 51-68 and 1198-1205.
- Antoine Fabre-in Olivet, worms gilded of Pythagore , Henri Veyrier, 1991
- Jean Mallinger, Notes on the Secrecies esoteric of Pythagoriciens, Paris, Niclaus , 1946; 2nd ED. in facsimile, Lille, F. Planquart, 1973
- Jean Mallinger, Pythagore and the Mysteries , Paris, Niclaus, 1944; 2nd ED. corrected review and, Lille, F. Planquart, 1974.
- Jean-François Mattei, Pythagore and the pythagoricians , PUF do I That-know? n° 2732,1993
- Mario Miller, gold worms, Pythagore, Guy Trédaniel, edition of Maisnie, 1987
- François Millepierres, Pythagore wire of Apollo , the tests LXII, Gallimard, 1953
- Michele Negri, the Novel of Pythagore , Buchet/Chastel, 1991
- Léonard Saint-Michel, gold worms of Pythagore , Adyar, 1991
- Edouard Schure, large initiates: outline secret History of the religions, Rama. Krishna. Hermes. Brace. Orphée. Pythagore. Plato. Jesus , Paris, Perrin & Co.
- Albert Slosman, Biblion de Pythagore - Book of the laws morals and political , Robert Laffont, 1980
- Doctor Emile Strohl, Pythagore, perenniality of its philosophy , Editions Traditional, 1968
- School pythagorician (containing the list of the pythagoricians)
- Multiplication table (table of Pythagore)
- educational Presentation on Pythagore: of the man to the crisis of the irrational numbers (site with nonlucrative goal of the educational Channel to the request)
- Works of Pythagore
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